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Git Home!



I am not as confused as you think.

© 1998 by C.J. Hadley, Publisher/Editor

CJ Photo ©Jeff Ross
CJ Photo ©Jeff Ross
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Read the letters. Some of you quit me because you think I'm too radical. Others quit me because I'm too conservative. If I don't suit your paradigm, I'm thrown to the wolves, the griz and the bull trout. If I do suit your point of view, you kiss my too quickly aging Brit butt.
     A rancher's wife in Wyoming recently said I was too "green." An environmentalist from Arizona, at almost the same moment, said that I am "rabidly pro-rancher." An old friend from Detroit sent his subscription renewal notice back (unsigned but I knew his writing and his postmark), "Don't send me any more of this propaganda." Just because he earns more than six figures, drives a flashy car and I get my pay in small donations doesn't mean my message doesn't relate to him and his family's future.
     Frankly, I'm scared. You'd think I was nuts if I told you there's a conspiracy going on to take water rights from ranchers and farmers to give it, through politicians with juice, to the ever more thirsty cities.
     How are we gonna eat?
     You'd call me crazy if I told you the feds are going around small rural communities wearing outfits resembling a "dress-down" from Harvard. Blue button-down shirts and laundered denims. And, boy, are they kind and "sincerely" interested in the ranchers' future! They have learned well from their mentor back on the Potomac. It's amazing to me that Bruce Babbitt is still employed as Secretary of Interior...but makes perfect sense when you consider his boss. (See p.38.)
     You'd say, "Take this broad to Bellevue" (an asylum in New York) if I shared with you the theories I am hammered with daily. You'd mail me handkerchiefs if you knew how often I wept at the desk simply because I feel helpless to do anything to save the rural West. And you'd order me tranquilizers if you shared my unadulterated joy when something happens to a rancher that's good.
     The wolf story written by J. Zane Walley in the Fall 1998 issue drew a lot of comments (Letters, p.9) and Babbitt's U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and its green friends continue to deny that wolves are a threat to humans. That's nonsense and it will get worse.
     Also, some fervent folks seem to be dumping endangered species on public land. Recently there has been an interesting increase in wolves and grizzly in places they are not supposed to be (p.5).
     Another bad thing is that because ranchers are in the best places and have worked longest and hardest, their homes have become the most desired pieces of real estate in the country. Ted and Jane, Tom Brokaw, Harrison Ford and other rich celebs and stars seem to agree because they pay millions for what used to be great cow and sheep outfits.
     Many western ranchers are barely hanging on. (Jay Walley thinks that ranchers' total annihilation is the whole point of the "Green Scheme"--see Spring '98 and p.44 in this issue.) They stay on the ranch even though their children have to seek jobs elsewhere. They have quit going to meetings, have drawn in their belts because beef prices have been worse than breakeven for years (p.23), and they can't kill predators that are decimating their livestock (p.5). They must be praying a lot because they sure aren't getting proactive or working hard enough politically to protect their future. Many have given up, taken money from developers, and moved to a place they'd rather not be.
     Granted, ranching is not an easy life but it's one upon which this nation's greatness was built. Somehow through the supermarketing of America, the average person has lost sight of the importance of maintaining and sustaining the family ranch.
     Pressures are constant on folks in production agriculture. The outsiders' knowledge (the ones who seldom get outside the meeting hall) is slight. To know what's happening on the land you have to get out there on your hands and knees and look down. You have to get dirty. Maybe even sweat.
     There are some well-educated but ignorant greens out there who have tasted power and blood and demand more (p.44). These mean spirits are licking their chops with successes while destroying families and communities. But there is hope. Other bright, articulate environmentalists with vision and love for the land are working with resource users for a better future. And, in so doing, they are not trashing farmers and ranchers (p.12).
     Food producers are practically out of the political loop, which should be bad news to everyone. Let's hope the wars between the environmentalists--the rationals and the radicals--brings in the right winners. Then those of us who still live in rural America won't have to move to town.


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